Shado: Sorry for the wait, I had unwanted drama distracting me almost every moment I was trying to finish this up for my beta reader and for you guys. But I think things have calmed down a lot, so updating should be a little faster now. Or hopefully. All thanks go to my beta reader Lady Divanora, she was a real help on clearing up a few things in this chap.
Disclaimer: I think its obvious I own nothing
Chapter 17 Jenova's Upbringing
Genesis didn't have enough time to react let alone think when the demon literally crashed into him. The pair immediately curled their wings around each other, Chaos snapping his fangs to get a clear bite on the commander's shoulders and neck. The demon was also lashing out with his claws as the tumbled down. All Genesis could do was shield the claws with his sword, and curled his body into a tight ball as they rolled and fell towards the ground.
When they were around ten feet to the plate, Genesis timed his move right when Chaos was just below him and used him as leverage for his legs. Within moments the demon crashed to the metal ground and created a huge crater ten feet across, five feet down.
"Oops…" Genesis wondered exactly what made him try such a dangerous attempt. But as he tried to step off the other, Chaos effortlessly raised an arm and gripped an ankle.
With a yelp the red commander was tossed across the metal ground like a flat pebble skipping the water's surface. Genesis wasn't able to stop until he struck Rapier into the ground, sliding into a stop.
'You shouldn't have used that much strength.' Vincent scolded.
'He shouldn't have used that trick on us in the first place.' Chaos growled.
Sephiroth took a few steps toward his love that weakly stood up using his sword to balance himself when Chaos growled in warning. The general stopped in his tracks to glare at Chaos with narrowed eyes.
"You could have killed him." Sephiroth spoke in a menacing manner.
"If he's able to stand then he'll be just fine." The demon snarled, baring his fangs.
At this threatening gesture the silver haired general reluctantly stepped back. If this demon hadn't shared the same body with Vincent, then Sephiroth would have struck him down with Masamune. The tall angel secretly planned a little payback on the demon when it was his turn.
Chaos made his way to Genesis within five leaps. The red commander stiffened at the raging attack, quickly casting himself a Cura before dodging the demon's lunge. When Chaos went rolling across the plate from his failed lunge, Genesis took to the air once again.
The demon stopped himself from rolling off the plate to jump up and fly after the Poetic Angel. Genesis looked down once, before twisting and flapping his wing to lengthen the distance between them. When it was a good distance for the commander, he clenched his left hand, drawing in his magic into the fist.
In seconds' fire danced around his hand. Its warmth intensified as Genesis clenched his fist harder, eyeing his target. When Chaos stopped in mid air in realization, the red commander threw six fireballs at once.
The demon frantically tried to dodge the fireballs. Chaos managed to dodge two of them before one hit him square in the face, temporarily blinding him. Genesis sneered as the demon stopped once again to clear away the ash from his eyes. The red commander then waved his free arm around to redirect the flames back towards his opponent.
Chaos let out an ear splitting shriek as his body was engulfed in flames. Although he couldn't be burned to death, it didn't mean the pain wasn't there. A sickening feeling grew in his gut, and Chaos soon realized that he was quickly losing altitude.
Unable to see, the demon flapped his wings to slow his descent. But he didn't turn out of fear he would miss the landing. Chaos knew that he was above the iron plate that hovered above Midgar, if he were to flap his wings to a different direction he would have to rely on the others for a lift back up.
'Which I'm not allowing.' Chaos growled at himself.
Genesis watched as the surprisingly calm demon floated straight down. Chaos was a little clumsy as the winds picked up, but the demon was still blind from a fireball to his face. The red commander landed gracefully onto the plate, awaiting the demon.
Chaos was slowly starting to panic, he should be landing now. Finally his toes felt solid steel. The red leathery wings flapped to steady him before tucking close to his body. Feeling vulnerable Chaos knelt down.
With his enhanced senses of smell and hearing, he could tell that Genesis was five feet away. Chaos could hear the strong heartbeat of the Poetic Angel, as well as the soft feathers of his huge wing rustling from the winds.
Genesis dashed forward, his attack almost silent. But that one second of the push off the ground from one foot, Chaos heard it. The demon heard the soft ringing of Rapier as it readied to strike. When the aroma of cinnamon and a faint hint of cologne that was most likely from Sephiroth came closer, Chaos rolled out of the way at the last minute, barely dodging Rapier's rapid strike.
Surprised, Genesis watched as the demon evaded his attack. Shaking off the shock, the red commander reversed his sword's strike. Chaos heard the whoosh of the crimson weapon, and back flipped into the air. As the demon leapt over his opponent, his back hit something soft yet firm.
Chaos felt the strange thing flung back along with him from the force. The demon landed with a loud thud, facing the commander's back. He heard a few furious flaps, realizing what he had brushed over his back and let out a few chuckles.
Alarmed, Genesis whirled around to see sharp fangs mocking him.
"First lesson of the day: When on land and your wing is out, keep it as close to your body as possible. If you keep it spread out it will only serve as a target, it wouldn't be great if one of the angels had their wings shredded to pieces." Chaos then stretched his own wings out.
"Unless of course, you're using them as a form of attack." The demon then spun his body in circles, using his legs and arms to propel him as he blindly aimed the sharp edges of his wings at Genesis.
The Poetic Angel parried away, but as Chaos followed the sound of his footsteps one of the wings struck across a chest. Genesis gasped, taking a risk to glance down to see a red gash from between his neck and the shoulder guard down to cross the wound from earlier on his stomach.
At that point Chaos stopped swirling himself around with a snort and stood up. The demon spread his legs into a steady stance, arms raised in a form of fighting style he learned from his host's memories with wings tucked in close. Genesis' eyes narrowed as the demon's body swayed a little, his claws weren't balled in fists.
"Payback for that wound on my thigh." Chaos flashed a wary grin.
Genesis focused on the injured leg, it was still bleeding but not so heavily. Then he noticed that Chaos wasn't putting much weight on the leg. Smiling at the weakness, Genesis sheathed his sword.
As expected, Chaos tilted his head in confusion. Taking advantage of the distraction the red commander lunged forward and successfully landed a punch into the demon's gut. Chaos grunted in pain but lashed with his left claw. Genesis swiftly blocked, wincing when the claw latched onto his wrist and drew a bit of blood.
But before the demon could lash with his free arm, Genesis pulled Chaos forward and onto the ground. His plan was to corner the demon using the plate underneath, but Chaos used his long legs and wings to roll away. Strangely his claw had yet to let go of Genesis, so the red commander was pulled with the frantic demon. In a fit of panic the black wing flapped, continuing the rolling towards their audience.
Sephiroth gracefully side stepped out of the way, watching with bemusement that soon faded into fear. The general could smell the hint of rich copper, whether the blood was from Chaos or Genesis still bothered the silver haired man. The scent shouldn't be this strong in the air.
Finally the rolling human wheel stopped when Chaos used a long leg to kick Genesis in the ribs. The red commander coughed as he tumbled to the steel, accidently landing on one of the demonic wings. Chaos stilled, worried that if he moved the fragile bones of the wing would break under the weight.
'Face it, he wins.' Vincent spoke calmly to his demon.
Chaos snorted but made no intention to say a word.
"You pass. Now get off." The ex—Turk's voice overrode the demon's, taking control for only a moment.
'You damned fool!' Chaos cursed at Vincent.
The ex—Turk didn't reply. Vincent had retreated once again to his safety net in their mind.
'Coward.' The demon snorted.
Genesis cautiously and carefully stood up, warily watching the demon. He felt a hand help him steady his balance and glanced up to see Sephiroth off to the side. The general gently led his lover away as Aerith knelt down next to Chaos.
The demon's nose scrunched up when the smell of flowers overwhelming his senses. The sweet aroma made him nauseous, silently wishing he could move away. He was surprised when he felt a handkerchief gently rubbed away the ashes. When the cloth retreated Chaos blinked his eyes open to see that everyone was standing around him.
"…This is why I hate humans." Chaos growled.
"Why, because you don't like it when people are trying to see if you're ok?" Zack crossed his arms.
"No because I don't want your damn pity. And I'd rather face a thousand Behemoth's instead of socializing with weaklings." The demon hissed.
"He's a grouch isn't he?" the young soldier commented in a low whisper.
"Don't say that in front of him, pup. You'll make things worse." Angeal warned.
"If you were paying attention to the fight, my hearing is ten times better than yours." Chaos snarled with a glare at the puppy.
Zack hastily stepped back to hide behind his lover. With the demon distracted, Aerith held her hands above the injured thigh. Even though the wound was in the back, she could still heal it. The Cetra's hands glowed green as she channeled her magic. Chaos let out a loud hiss, twitching as the wound closed up.
"There." The flower girl declared once she was done. Aerith stood up, daring to clasp a gentle grip around the demon's wrist to help him up.
To everyone's surprise Chaos didn't hiss, growl, or throw a fit. The demon lifted himself up, using her grip on his arm as leverage as he straightened. Chaos pawed the ground with what used to be his injured leg and chuckled when there was no pain.
"Not bad." The demon commented.
Aerith nodded; she understood that was as close to a 'thank you' she would get.
"Honorable Angel, you're next." Chaos announced as he distanced himself from the humans to give room for his wings.
Angeal followed after the demon, his white wing sprouting from his shoulder. Before he could take off, the general interrupted with a step toward Chaos.
"What if I want to have a go first?" Sephiroth sent a fierce stare. His green eyes unnerved the demon.
"Sorry, pretty boy. But let's save the best for last." Chaos laughed.
Deciding now was a good time as any Angeal flapped his great wing once and took to the sky. Even though speed wasn't his specialty, the honorable soldier took advantage of the strong winds that carried him further up and covered a vast distance by the time Chaos took flight.
Meanwhile Sephiroth watched feeling very irritated that the demon dared to toy with him.
While the others were being tested, the youngest of the angels found himself in a rather dangerous predicament. Cloud, Reno, and another young Surai that appeared mostly lion, were out on a hunting mission. Alpha had given them the mission as a means for a test to see how well Cloud and Reno could hunt compared to a fully transformed human turned Surai.
So far the fully transformed monster was winning. The young lion Surai had struck down three bucks and one doe before the two Halflings could plan their attempt on a target. To make things worse, the weather decided not to be on their side and started snowing.
Reno, being part snake, didn't handle the freezing temperatures so well. The redhead kept shivering and mumbling about the worst week of his life. Multiple times Cloud had to hold Reno close, since he was more wolf with enhanced mako in his system he gave off body heat. And the snow didn't bother him too much.
But this slowed them down. Eventually Cloud had to stop and take cover under low branches of a pine tree. The redhead's lips were a dark shade of blue. His uncovered hands were stiff from the cold.
"Th—this is f—fucked up, yo." Reno cursed as he curled up next to the blond.
"Just stay awake." Cloud assured. "Once he's done with this hunt we'll head back."
"He c—ca—can take his sw—sweet time, you're fucking warm." The redhead nuzzled his face into the other's chest.
Cloud growled low in warning as his ears flattened into his spiked hair.
"Don't worry, yo. I'm not g—gonna try anythin'. My rib s—still hurts ya know." Reno said.
Silence filled the air. The snowstorm had finally subsided into a soft falling of snow. Cloud watched through the pines as the snow finally stopped some minutes later. The decline of the bitter cold had stopped as well, and soon the air wasn't so bitter and it no longer felt like their lungs were freezing up.
Then the wolf ears twitched. Cloud heard faint screams from a far off distance. Alarmed, the blond peered out from under the low branches for a better hearing. Reno, who was dozing on and off, groaned from the loss of warmth.
"Hey, what's a matter, yo?" the redhead yawned.
"I hear…screams." Cloud whispered as his ears perked forward, straining to listen.
Reno cautiously peered out, careful not to touch the snow. The redhead examined the forest around them, trying to pick up any movement. Since he was half snake, Reno had the ability to see like one if he wished. He could see thermal colorations, picking up anything that Cloud couldn't see.
"I don't see anythin', yo." Reno stated, just about ready to retreat from the opening.
"Wait…the only population of humans within miles is in Nibelheim." Cloud glanced worriedly at the other.
"Shit…do ya think that lion Surai had the guts to attack the town?" the redhead realized.
"Let's go." The blond crawled out, anxious to see the source of the screams.
"You're a real handful." Reno commented, not wanting to move from his spot. But Cloud was the leader, and the redhead knew that to bring down a crazed fully transformed Surai he'll need a partner.
So with great reluctance, Reno crawled out after the half wolf despite the freezing cold temperatures. As soon as the redhead was standing upright, Cloud broke into a full run. Reno struggled to follow close behind, but with becoming a Halfling he acquired an increase in speed and strength.
But the redhead managed to keep up, dodging a few trees that were in the way. It didn't take long before the screams were evident in the air. Now Reno was troubled by the thought of witnessing a Surai tear and shred innocent bodies. The horrid thoughts were enough to pick up the pace and they ran faster into a rocky path.
The smell of blood was heavy, filling their nostrils even though they were within ten feet from the town. Cloud bolted into the entrance of Nibelheim to discover the young lion using two of his six legs to hold down a couple of the townspeople. Reno clutched his stomach with one hand, the other over his mouth at the sight of one of the bodies was torn and organs sprawled over the ground.
Cloud's ears flattened when he realized that the second person was alive, and struggling to escape. He recognized Tifa with her long hair, and her father frantically ordering the other men to distract the creature long enough for his only child to escape. The blond saw that her shoulder was bleeding not from the claws, but from a vicious bite.
'Punishment for turning a human without Alpha's permission is death.' Cloud repeated one of the few rules of the clan. Alpha did not tolerate any accidental turnings when he didn't give the word.
Without a moment's hesitation the blond ran forward to leap at the creature's shoulder. The lion head whirled around, snapping his lethal jaws at Cloud. The leader of the hunt was just out of reach, and dug his claws in a little deeper as the young Surai started shaking its body.
Reno, who had gotten over the ugly sight, cautiously made his way to the trapped girl. He could tell she was weakening as the venom took effect. The redhead grabbed hold of one of the toes to lift it up. Her legs were now free to crawl out.
"C'mon, sweet cheeks, ya don't have much time here!" Reno was losing his hold.
With an angry huff, the girl pulled with her legs and wiggled herself out of the claw's hold. Reno let go of the toe, just when the Surai just started to roll. Its plan to squash Cloud with his weight failed when he rolled into the water tower.
The blond unsheathed one of the six pieces of First Ken, Cloud had taken two pieces to use as weapons and made a make shift strap (with Reno's help) on his shoulders. The two pieces were crossed over each other to give room for his wings. Even though Cloud hadn't used his wings since the day he had ran away from Shinra, he knew he still had them.
Cloud began to strike the Surai's neck. Unfortunately the Surai was male, and had a rather thick mane. The young male managed to stand up and caught the blond off guard. Cloud fell to the ground, stabbing the shoulder as he fell. The sword was stuck, and Cloud didn't have a strong grip on the handle.
The creature howled in pain, its two right legs now rendered useless due to the sword on his shoulder. With the Surai distracted, Cloud unsheathed his other sword and leapt up to slice at the other's throat. The male fell. The blond had made a clean cut across the creature's windpipe.
"Strife, you're alive." Rude was the first to speak, cautiously stepping forward.
Cloud tilted his head at the bald Turk. "I vaguely remember you…you're Reno's partner, right?"
Rude nodded in confirmation before taking a glance at the redhead. Reno's scales were mostly covered by his clothes, but he had nothing to cover the few that were along his jaw line and outlining his cheek bones.
"Partner…what happened?" Rude stared, unsure if what he saw was correct.
"The Surai bit me. I would have turned out just like the one Little Cloud just killed if it weren't for him, yo. Ya see he's got some anti venom or somethin' of the like." Reno scratched his head nervously.
"Speaking of which…the girl was bitten by it?" the redhead peered down at the damsel he and Cloud saved.
Rude inclined his head as a yes.
"Yo, Cloud! What should we do now?" Reno called out as the blond retrieved his other sword.
Before Cloud could answer, Tifa's father ran to his daughter's side. The blond then realized that the townspeople were surrounding them, staring wide eyes at his wolf ears and Reno's scales. Feeling uneasy, Cloud sheathed the twin swords and kept a wary eye out for anyone who held a pitchfork or a shovel.
"What's wrong with her?" the man demanded.
"She got bitten, that's what." Reno remarked with a snort.
"You dare mock me, Shinra lapdog!" Tifa's father roared at the redhead. Taken by surprise, Reno stepped away from the man and closer to the blond.
"Whoa, take it easy, yo." Reno held his hands up.
"What he means to say is that the Surai venom is coursing through her. Within twenty four hours she will be transforming into one of them." Cloud pointed at the now dead lion like creature.
"Is there any way to reverse the transformation?" Rude glanced from Cloud to Reno.
"No not really, yo." The redhead shook his head.
"But I can prevent it from going too far." Cloud announced. "As Reno said earlier, I have my own anti venom to stop the human body from transforming. But it can't completely stop it…"
The blond referred to the redhead's visible scales.
"So what does this mean? She'll grow scales and animal ears?" Tifa's father scowled.
"No, not scales. She'll gain lion ears or a tail possibly. It all depends on what kind of a Surai that bit you to gain the animal…attributes." Cloud explained further.
"So how do you stop it from it completely taking over her?" the bald Turk questioned further.
"…Biting her, sir. I stop it by biting her." Cloud lowered his gaze.
"Biting? No way in hell I'm gonna allow you to bite my daughter!" the man yelled.
"Hey! If you don't want our help, then go right ahead, yo!" Reno hissed. "She will become a monster by this time tomorrow."
"Quiet, Reno." Cloud growled, already uneasy with the townspeople's murmurings.
"No, I will not quiet down! I've been havin' the worst time of my life and I don't have to deal with this shit!" the redhead screamed.
"You're going to get us killed if you keep this up Reno." The blond warned while his ears flattened.
That brought the Turk back to his senses and he shut up. If there was one thing that Reno was smart about, it was the angels. Cloud had to live, no matter what happens. The world needed five sons of the goddess. If one of them were to die the planet would fall into darkness.
'But something will happen so long as we continue to live with the Surai…' Reno frowned as he casted a nervous glance at his partner.
Rude stared back through his shades. The bald Turk noticed Reno's discomfort. Cloud's ear twitched when he heard someone clear their throat. The blond turned back to see Rude taking a few steps toward him.
"Our mission was to find and retrieve you. We can bring you back to Midgar after we get these people to safety." The bald Turk suggested.
For a moment Cloud considered this. He thought about Afua, and her two pups. Cloud didn't despise all of the Surai, not when he met a caring mother and her two pups. Then there was Alpha—
The blond winced when his thoughts wandered to the leader of the clan. A female voice screamed at him, one minute the voice was muttering soft encouragements then she started shrieking inside his head.
'Kill all these people! Kill them all! Lure my son, my son to this town. I need my son, MY son! Bring him to me! Together, we can create the Reunion!'
Cloud held his head from the pain. His hears flattened and he felt his knees met dirt. The pain intensified as he tried to resist the order. Cloud's body shook as his sensitive ears heard ringing.
"Cloud! Yo, Cloud, are you ok? Cloud!" Reno ran to the blonde's side, kneeling beside him.
"R—Reno, take me away…Mother…wants me to k—kill them…" the blond whispered as he attempted to explain with as few words as possible due to the pain.
'Kill them! KILL THEM!'
The redhead glanced up at his partner with worry.
"Rude, partner…I know that our mission is to bring him home ASAP, but right now Cloud needs to be freed of Jenova. Call boss man and update everything you've seen today. I'm sorry partner…" Reno couldn't finish the rest of his sentence when Cloud let out a feral growl, baring his fangs.
The Turk didn't have another warning as the blond attempted to attack the nearest human, mainly Rude. Reno shouted and grabbed hold of the stronger male around the stomach to pull him back. Cloud rammed his elbow into the redhead's gut, forcing the other to the ground.
Rude had taken out his weapon, ready to fight back when the blond made his move. But Cloud lunged not at the bald Turk, but the injured girl and her father. Rude wasn't fast enough to get between them, he couldn't do anything but watch was Cloud knocked the father away.
"Cloud, no!" Reno bolted after the blond. Screams filled the air once again as Cloud bit Tifa's arm.
The redhead pulled Cloud away, eyes widening as the girl's father encouraged the other men to kill them.
"They're monsters! We should kill them! Rid the world of their filth!" the man shouted, earning yells of agreement and men sprinted towards them with their pitchforks.
"I don't know if you're in right mind or not but…we're gonna need a miracle here!" Reno cried as the circle of men closed in on them.
In an instant two wings sprouted from Cloud's shoulders. The redhead stared at them in awe, as did the other men as they paused in their attack. They didn't know what to make of the angelic wings. Or…one of them was angelic.
The left wing was an inky black. Its length was about twice the size of Cloud's height, Reno guessed. The wing was folded in close to its owner's body like an extended limb curled in close.
But the other wing was smaller. Reno heard that it had been nearly shredded by a Surai on Cloud's first and last mission for Shinra. But under the dim light, the wing shone brightly in its pure whiteness like the snow. Unlike the black wing, the smaller one was extended out, about the same size as Cloud's height.
"Looks like we got that miracle…" Reno whispered to himself when the blond began flapping his wings.
Afraid he was going to be left behind the redhead wrapped his arms around Cloud's neck just as the blond took flight. Cloud almost crashed into a roof from the unexpected added weight.
"Whoa! I don't wanna die, yo!" Reno shrieked when they came within mere inches away from the rooftop. The blond regained balance and flew higher and they were soon out of sight.
Down below, Rude was struggling to find a signal to call Tseng.
Shado: The joys of cell phones. They're awesome, but right when you needed it for an emergency...well, we'll see if Tseng gets the call or not, ne? I'm such a tease when it comes to writing.
1) The Term Halflings: I think this is self explanatory, but it's basically what Cloud and Reno (and soon Tifa) are. Half Surai and half mortal, though Cloud isn't a normal human being so maybe Hafling isn't a good word to describe him...oh well.
So! If you'd like to see how things turn out, please click the lovely review button and tell me what you think!
Happy New Year! (A little late but...meh).